In case there was any doubt, Alex Len's performance Friday in Maryland's 72-69 loss to No. 3 Kentucky generated some attention.
In the here and now, the ACC named Len its Player of the Week after the 7-foot-1 center established career highs with 23 points and 12 rebounds against the Wildcats. Seven of the sophomore's boards came on the offensive end and overall Len hit on 10-of-18 from the floor in 32 minutes. For good measure he tacked on four blocks, which matched a career high.
Len's performance against a Kentucky frontcourt loaded with NBA prospects, including heralded freshman center Nerlens Noel, also raised his professsional upside in the minds of talent evaluators.
"Len made himself a lot of money Friday," ESPN Draft analyst Chad Ford said in an Insider column posted Monday. "He had career highs in points (23) and rebounds (12) against the No. 1 player on our Big Board (Noel) and established himself as a potential elite big man prospect in this year's draft."
Ford noted Len's "mixed bag" of a freshman season, which included moments of brilliance followed by games with "almost nothing on either end." That was then
"This season he has added strength and appears to be more confident," Ford wrote. "Equally important is the fact that, with gunner Terrell Stoglin gone, it appears as if Mark Turgeon is finally going to run the offense through Len. If he can keep this up all season, scouts predict he'll go very high in the 2013 NBA draft."
One NBA GM told Ford, "If Enes Kanter can go No. 3 and Jonas Valanciunas No. 5 in a much stronger draft, Len should be able to easily crack the top five if he's going to play like that all year. He's 7-foot-1, is athletic, rebounds, block shots and has offensive skills, and he's producing against legit NBA talent. Those guys don't come along very often."
No they don't, which is why Maryland fans are thrilled to have Len on campus - and hope he sticks around for a while.
Former four-star cornerback J.C. Jackson will enroll at Maryland and be immediately eligible to play for the Terrapins in 2016, according to a report from 247Sports.com.
Coming out of the high school class of 2014, Jackson as the 21st-best player in the country at his position and the No. 243 overall player in the nation according to Rivals.com.
He signed with Florida and redshirted his freshman season. In April 2015, he was charged with three felony counts of armed robbery and another felony charge of burglary stemming from an alleged home invasion in Florida.
In Nov. 2015, Jackson was found not guilty on all four charges. He did not return to play for the Gators, instead transferring to Riverside CC (Calif.).
Maryland head coach DJ Durkin is the former defensive coordinator at Florida. He served on the program's staff from 2010-14.
Maryland is losing three starters in its secondary from 2015, with senior Will Likely being the only featured player returning. That lack of depth figures to give Jackson an opportunity to start in 2016.
Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon and incoming freshman guard Kevin Huerter will return home from Chile with gold medals after Team USA's 99-84 victory over Canada in the championship game of the U18 FIBA Americas title on Saturday night.
Turgeon served on the team's staff as an assistant. Huerter contributed throughout the tournament, including finishing as the team's leading scorer in a victory over Chile.
"It was an extremely great feeling to win and be on the podium with my teammates as champions," Huerter said in a release. "It was a great experience. We played in front of great crowds and were able to overcome adversity against great teams."
Huerter, a 6-6 guard who can play both backcourt positions, figures to be a contributor for Maryland in 2016-17. His outside shooting stroke should allow him to slot seamlessly into Turgeon's well-spaced scheme.
Turgeon served on the Team USA staff with Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie and Texas head coach Shaka Smart.
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Four-star offensive lineman Marcus Minor of DeMatha Catholic (Md.) has trimmed his list to seven schools and Maryland is among them, he announced via Twitter on Saturday.
The Terrapins are joined by Auburn, Virginia Tech, Miami, Florida, Rutgers, and Michigan State.
At 6-4, 285 pounds, Rivals.com ranks Minor as the No. 37 player in the country at his position.
Maryland has made it a priority to improve its offensive line since coming into the Big Ten, beginning with former head coach Randy Edsall and now continuing under DJ Durkin.
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